Police Rescue Woman From Flying To Africa To Meet Online Scammer

Police Rescue Woman From Flying To Africa To Meet Online Scammer

Police have twice stopped a woman, 73, from boarding a plane to Africa to meet an online romance scammer who fleeced her of $75,000.

Police Rescue Woman From Flying To Africa To Meet Online Scammer

Isabell's daughter, Ann, 48, said she feared if her mother had not been stopped from boarding yesterday's flight to Ghana, she might have been kidnapped and ransomed - or worse.

Pensioner Jette Jacobs, 67, from Western Australia, was found dead in Johannesburg, South Africa, in February after meeting an online scammer.

Victoria Police first tried to discourage Isabell from boarding a flight earlier this year.

Ann and WA fraud squad detective Rob Martin finally convinced her to cancel the trip during a stopover in Perth.

After falling for the loving promises of an African fraud, pretending to be a wealthy American proposing marriage, the Western Districts woman is now reduced to cleaning houses and working on a farm to make ends meet.

Victorians lost $8.5 million to online romance scams last year, and $53 million was stripped from the bank accounts of Australian lonely hearts in 2012 alone.

The widowed "American" who scammed Isabell claimed to run a business and said he wanted money to set up an orphanage Ann said calls and online exchanges were daily and relentless, telling Isabell he loved her and wanted marriage.

But the scammer turned out to be a 26-year-old African man. Ann said there was almost no hope of recovering the money her mother had sent.

"The man knew she had property. He was trying to get her to take out a second mortgage," Ann said.

An alert has been issued by police, over a callous conman preying on the elderly in Adelaide's eastern suburbs"It has been so scary for us. I said, 'how could my mother have fallen for this?'

Isabell said, "I've never felt anyone has ever loved me as much as this person."

WA police have identified 22 other fraud victims in six countries outside Australia who were sending money, via Western Union, to Jette Jacobs' love interest, "Jesse Omokoh".

She sent up to $200,000 to Omokoh, and maybe others. Omokoh has used a social networking site to deny any wrongdoing in the case.

"We are continuing to work with the Major Crime Squad in Johannesburg, where Mrs Jacobs' body was found, as well as authorities in Nigeria, where 'Jesse Omokoh' is apparently based," Det. Sen-Sgt Dom Blackshaw said.

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